There has been a rise of almost 4% in racist incidents in Scotland, with much of the increase due to cases where “white British” people are the victims, new figures have revealed.
Police Scotland recorded a total of 4,807 racist incidents in 2013-14 – up by 3.9% on the previous year but still the third lowest total in the past 10 years.
A total of 5,626 people were the victims of such attacks – with “white British” people the most common ethnic group to be targeted.
The figures, which were published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, showed 1,423 “white British” people were the complainers in racist incidents – an increase of 284 from the 2012-13 total of 1,139.
There was a drop in attacks on Pakistanis, with 1,107 reporting they were the victim of racist behaviour, down from 1,115 in 2012-13.
Overall, 27.2% of victims came from a “white British” ethnic background – which includes “white Scottish” and “white English” – with 21.2% coming from a Pakistani background
Meanwhile, 14% of victims were classed as “other white” – including “white Polish” and “white Irish” – and 13.1% were African, Caribbean or another black ethnic background
Community safety minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “While it is encouraging that the number of incidents involving members of the Pakistani community are now at their lowest levels in a decade, the overall increase in reported racist incidents more generally shows us that more work still needs to be done.
“Where we can dig deeper into the statistics, we can see that many reports are from Scots who are classed as ‘white British’.
“The fact this mirrors the demographic make-up of Scotland means it may well be down to more witnesses coming forward, which is to be welcomed.”
Police recorded 5,520 crimes resulting from racist incidents – a 5.6% increase on the previous year – with some incidents involving more than one crime being reported.
Of all the incidents that were reported to the police, 94.7% resulted in at least one crime being recorded, with a 77% clean-up rate for these offences.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “The fact that so many of these incidents resulted in at least one crime being reported, and that over three-quarters of these have been solved, also shows just how seriously the police take any reports of racial discrimination and I would like to pay tribute to their efforts and strong leadership in this area.
“This government is sending a strong message that racism in any form is simply unacceptable and there is no place for it in 21st-century Scotland.
“Whether you’re a victim, or you are someone who witnesses unacceptable behaviour, be assured that the police or the authorities will take your report seriously and action will be taken.”
Chief Superintendent Paul Main, lead officer for safer communities in Police Scotland, said: “One incident where hatred and intolerance is a motivating factor is one too many.
“Police Scotland continues to work closely with our communities and other partners across the criminal justice spectrum to ensure those who are the victims of such incidents have the confidence to come forward and report their experiences to us.”